Created by Carlton Cuse and John Ridley, Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ revolves around Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals in New Orleans, Louisiana, during and after Hurricane Katrina. After the hurricane, forty-five dead bodies get discovered in the building that accommodates both Memorial and LifeCare.
The first three episodes of the show, titled ‘Day One,’ ‘Day Two,’ and ‘Day Three’ respectively, depict how thousands of people get stuck in the hospital building due to the hurricane and the flood that follows. The third episode ends with a crucial unanswered question that may startle the viewers and we have taken a detailed look at the same. Let us share our findings! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Five Days at Memorial Episode 1, 2, and 3 Recap
‘Day One’ begins with a group of people discovering forty-five dead bodies at the Memorial hospital building several days after Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Horace Baltz, one of the longest serving doctors at Memorial, gets questioned about the deaths. On August 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina threatens New Orleans. Around two thousand people, that includes patients, doctors and nurses, other hospital staff, and family members of the patients, get stuck in the hospital. Dr. Anna Pou, nurse Karen Wynn, Dr. Bryant King, and other staff of the hospital help the patients and other people in the building in the wake of the hurricane under the leadership of Susan Mulderick, the incident commander of the hospital.
The Memorial hospital building also accommodates LifeCare Hospitals on its seventh floor for long-term acute care for severely ill patients. Diane Robichaux looks after the hospital that accommodates several patients such as Emmett Everett and Wilda McManus. The people somehow manage to survive the hurricane that passes in one night of stormy rain. ‘Day Two’ follows the events that happen the next day of the hurricane. The hurricane has passed, the rain has stopped, and the sky becomes clear. But due to the lack of city power, the hospital building gets run on backup generator power, which makes it impossible to turn on the air conditioning system.
People in the hospital building rely on bottled water and struggle to cope with the heat. Meanwhile, several rumors lead the people to distress. Since the city of New Orleans is still underwater, Susan and Horace decide to keep the people sheltered at the building itself. Mark LeBlanc, whose mother Elvira ‘Vera’ LeBlanc is admitted to LifeCare, gets distressed over his mother getting stuck in an isolated hospital building. The levees that surround New Orleans city get broken, flooding the city. An army officer arrives at Memorial to inform Susan about the situation and asks her to start evacuating the people inside the building.
‘Day Three’ follows Susan and others’ attempts to evacuate the people from the hospital building. A humongous amount of water surrounds the building and gets into the basement of the hospital. Susan instructs a subordinate to contact Tenet, the company that owns the center, for help. A Tenet employee named Michael Arvin tries to help but his boss forces him to stop trying by offering an excuse that the evacuation is the responsibility of the Coast Guard and National Guard. A truck arrives at the hospital to evacuate around twenty people and a helicopter evacuates a single baby. Meanwhile, a LifeCare patient gets coded and eventually dies despite the efforts of Horace and other staff.
Five Days at Memorial Episode 3 Ending: Were Patients Killed in Memorial and LifeCare?
After discovering the dead bodies at the Memorial hospital building, Dr. Bryant King gets interviewed. He says that he couldn’t stop what happened in the two hospitals after the first death. The interviewer asks him what he couldn’t stop, whether it was patients dying or getting killed. The reality behind the interviewer’s question is that Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo were alleged to have killed multiple LifeCare patients, who were discovered among the forty-five dead bodies discovered at Memorial after the hurricane, with lethal doses of morphine. The three medical staff were eventually arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with four deaths.
At the time, there were speculations that Anna euthanized the patients. The then Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti dismissed the speculations of euthanasia and described the deaths as “homicide” in a news conference carried on CNN. Anna revealed to Newsweek that she administered morphine to nine LifeCare patients who died and found among the forty-five dead bodies with the knowledge that the medication might hasten their deaths. She also made it clear that killing the patients was not her intention at any stage. According to Anna, she was helping the patients to relieve their pain.
As far as the question of whether any patients were “killed” at Memorial and LifeCare during the five days at the hospital building is concerned, the grand jury that was sworn in to consider the case didn’t indict Anna in connection with any deaths that happened at the hospitals. The jury decided to not indict the doctor after Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard classified the deaths’ cause as “undetermined” since there wasn’t any conclusive evidence to classify them as homicides.